Interview with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT WHEN THE SCLC WAS FORMED IN, IN 1957. WHY WAS IT FORMED AND WHAT WAS IT'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE RECENT VICTORY IN MONTGOMERY WHEN THE SUPREME COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF THE BOYCOTTERS?

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth:

Well, it's always good to have people who are doing a little something here, a little something there to come together and coordinate in so far as possible what they're doing. For instance, SCLC was organized around the issue of just asking, not protesting, not rioting in the buses, but asking for bus desegregation. In the light of the fact that the US Supreme Court had already spoken. And in the light of the '54 decision, you see, we thought that you could just shame America, so now, America, look at your promises, and look at how you're treating your poor Negro citizens. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. But, you know, segregation, you can't shame segregation, you can't—rattlesnakes don't commit suicide, ball teams don't strike themselves out. You gotta put them out.** And I remember that we organized I think the first conference as I recall, was to redeem the soul of America. We thought you could just, you know, America's soul was good at heart. And all of our songs, "God Shed his Grace on Thee," "Crown thy Good with Brotherhood," all of our songs, all of our slogans - brotherhood, justice, equality - lead to the idea that we are really a righteous, good country.